Shortage of instructors cripples adult literacy programmes

A study by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) has cited inadequacy of instructors as one of the challenges suffocating efforts to promote adult literacy programmes in the country.

CCJP is conducting a study on local government and local council compliance with national, regional and international human rights instruments in protecting and promoting the rights of elderly persons in Malawi.

Among others, the study is auditing elderly programmes and interventions at the local council and community level in order to analyze the inclusion of the elderly in local development processes in the country.

Chidothi (left) explaining how acute shortage of instructors has suffocated adult literacy programme in RumphiPhoto by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa TImes

During interface meetings with District Community Development Officers (DCDOs) for selected districts of Rumphi, Karonga, Ntchisi, Dowa, Mangochi and Nsanje, it was evident that elderly persons are demanding adult literacy programmes in their areas.

“I have been to almost every corner of this district and everywhere I go, elderly persons have been demanding the introduction of adult classes in their areas. This shows that the elderly are very eager to learn, yet we can’t introduce the programme because we don’t have instructors to render the service,” lamented Rumphi DCDO Bob Chidothi.

Chidothi appealed to the government – through the Ministry of Gender, Children, Community Development and Social Welfare – to consider training and recruiting adult literacy instructors.

On her part, Karonga District Social Welfare Officer (DSWO) Atupele Mwalweni lamented lack of coordination among stakeholders in the implementation of laws and policies designed to protect and promote the rights of elderly persons.

Mwalweni said this defeats efforts to mainstream elderly issues in their programming.

But the Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati, said the ministry has an adequate number of instructors across the country.

Kaliati advised the DCDOs to request the ministry to deploy the staff to the areas where there is a shortage.

CCJP National Governance Programmes Coordinator, George Chiusiwa, said the findings of the study will inform their advocacy agenda on the protection and promotion of the rights of older persons in Malawi.

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